Many systematic reviewers choose to use reference management/bibliographic software to manage the references that they retrieve from the different databases. There are many different programmes that you can use, each with strengths and weaknesses.
NHS staff who are alumni of King's College London will have alumni access to RefWorks (if you are an alumni student email email@example.com for details of how to access Refworks).
Other programmes which you may hear of include Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote Web, CiteULike and Papers for the Mac. Many of these are free (although you may be asked to pay for some advanced features).
The King's Guide to Referencing has a short quiz you can take to get a suggested piece of referencing software:
Key features for systematic reviewers:
A recent article comparing software/methods :
McKeown, S., Mir, Z.M. Considerations for conducting systematic reviews: evaluating the performance of different methods for de-duplicating references. Syst Rev 10, 38 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01583-y
The rapid development of artificial intelligence has enabled the launch of many new screening tools. The screening process of a systematic or scoping review is where eligible studies/research are identified which should be included and analysed in the review. This can often be done in 2 stages; first a screen looking only at the title and abstract of papers, followed by a second screen of those articles which passed the first screen where the full-text of the paper is reviewed. This is an intensive process and PRISMA indicates that at least 2 reviewers should be involved in the screening step to minimise bias. Screening tools aim to reduce the amount of time that reviewers have to spend screening.
Research has been done on the various screening tools to suggest which might be best in different contexts:
Qiyang Zhang & Amanda Neitzel (2023) Choosing the Right Tool for the Job: Screening Tools for Systematic Reviews in Education, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2023.2209079
Harrison, H., Griffin, S.J., Kuhn, I. et al. Software tools to support title and abstract screening for systematic reviews in healthcare: an evaluation. BMC Med Res Methodol 20, 7 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-020-0897-3
When reading systematic reviews you may see mention of two tools commonly used by Cochrane systematic reviewers and others: Covidence and RevMan. If you are undertaking a systematic review you may have them recommended to you by a supervisor or colleague. Whilst King's does not have an institutional subscription to these tools at this stage there are free trial versions available to download and some departments/divisions or research groups may have purchased access independently. Please note the Library is not able to support with the use of these tools.
Many systematic reviews (particularly ones which are smaller scale than the standard Cochrane ones) are successfully completed without using these tools and there are also other products available. If you would like to explore a free tool you may find the following to be of interest (please note we cannot offer support on using this system):